Safety neglected at adventure tourism spots in Vietnam’s Da Lat: insiders


Ensuring safety at adventure activity sites in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, home to the mountain-and-waterfall tourist town of Da Lat, is not an easy task, given the lack of ministry-level management, industry insiders have said. Da Lat, with a number of mountains, hills, mountain passes and waterfalls, has emerged as a popular destination for domestic and international adventure lovers in recent years, but all such activities are running with no official safety regulations. However, it is high time Vietnam’s tourism authorities took safety seriously, after four foreign tourists died at two different Da Lat waterfalls last week, according to insiders. Three British tourists were swept down the Dalanta waterfall during a trekking trip on February 26, while a Belarusian vacationer was found dead downstream from the Pongour cascade two days later. Nguyen Thi Nguyen, director of the Lam Dong tourism department, admitted that there are no official standards to … [Read more...]

The ugly truth about Vietnam’s floating markets


A man who is a trader of Cai Rang floating market dumps vegetable peels into the Cai Rang River. Photo: Dinh Tuyen As the first rays of the sun shone down, some foreign tourists on a boat were enjoying the cool air and bustling trade at Cai Rang floating market in Can Tho city until they saw something gross. A man on a boat docked in front of them was pulling his pants up: he had just defecated into the river below. They went barely 30 meters before they saw a man on another boat urinating into the river. Hong, the woman piloting the tourist boat, said, "It’s the ‘rush hour’ that lasts from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. when people relieve themselves." "All the people -- around several hundreds -- who live on boats here relieve themselves directly into the river." A man pulls his pants up after defecating into the Cai Rang River. Photo: Dinh Tuyen They also dump all types of rubbish, from vegetable peels to nylon bags and foam boxes, into the Cai Rang every day. As the … [Read more...]

Tourists cancel trips to Thailand after Bangkok blast

Foreigners offer prayers at the reopened Erawan shrine in Bangkok on August 19, 2015. Photo AFP/Christophe Archambault Tourist agencies in Vietnam said most of their clients have cancelled their planned trips to Thailand after a bomb attack in Bangkok killed at least 22 people, half of them foreigners. Vu Linh Phuong, a representative of Ho Chi Minh City-based Lua Viet Tours, told Thanh Nien on Tuesday: "A group of 50 people and 20 individuals scheduled to travel to Thailand in coming days have cancelled their bookings." "All of them had paid for the tours, so we are persuading airlines, hotels, and restaurants to offer refunds without charging cancellation fees," said Phuong. Tran Bao Thu, marketing manager of Fiditour, also based in HCMC, said many of its clients who had planned to visit Thailand changed their destination, with some choosing Singapore and Malaysia and others switching to local tourist sites like Hanoi and Phu Quoc. Meanwhile, Hanoi Redtours said it decided to … [Read more...]

Tourists cancel trip to Thailand after Bangkok blast

Foreigners offer prayers at the reopened Erawan shrine in Bangkok on August 19, 2015. Photo AFP/Christophe Archambault Tourist agencies in Vietnam said most of their clients have cancelled their planned trips to Thailand after a bomb attack in Bangkok killed at least 22 people, half of them foreigners. Vu Linh Phuong, a representative of Ho Chi Minh City-based Lua Viet Tours, told Thanh Nien on Tuesday: "A group of 50 people and 20 individuals scheduled to travel to Thailand in coming days have cancelled their bookings." "All of them had paid for the tours, so we are persuading airlines, hotels, and restaurants to offer refunds without charging cancellation fees," said Phuong. Tran Bao Thu, marketing manager of Fiditour, also based in HCMC, said many of its clients who had planned to visit Thailand changed their destination, with some choosing Singapore and Malaysia and others switching to local tourist sites like Hanoi and Phu Quoc. Meanwhile, Hanoi Redtours said it decided to … [Read more...]

HCM City focuses on tourism growth

HCM CITY (VNS) — The HCM City tourism industry is increasingly offering new products and services based on what visitors want and how other countries do things. The city, which has popular tourism destinations like the Cu Chi guerrilla war place tunnels, Ben Thanh Market, Reunification Palace, has developed new ones like inland waterway tours. With the Sai Gon and Dong Nai rivers flowing through it and a 900km canal system, the city expects waterway tourism to spearhead the tourism growth. Nguyen Van Dung, director of Thien Nien Ky Travel Company, said 99 per cent of international visitors to the city choose to visit Cu Chi District and 90 per cent choose to travel to the Mekong River for a day or two. Tours that help visitors discover the city's history, culture, and food are also popular, he said. In recent times around 10 travel companies have been offering a new product – seeing the city on a motorbike. It takes tourists through Districts 1, 5, 8, and 7, enabling … [Read more...]

How tourism in Laos, Cambodia is galloping ahead of Vietnam


Tourists visiting Angkor Wat Temple in Cambodia. Photo: Doan Xuan Hai A decade ago few people thought that tourism development in Laos and Cambodia would outpace Vietnam’s. Many tourism officials in the two countries used to be trained in Vietnam. Laos has no coastline and focuses mostly on culture and ecological tourism with two UNESCO heritage sites, Wat Phou Temple and Luang Prabang town. Cambodia has a coastline that is just an eighth of Vietnam’s in length. It has attracted tourists mostly to two UNESCO heritage sites, Angkor Wat and Preah Vihear temples. Vietnam tourism has more attractions, including a long coastline with beautiful beaches and eight UNESCO heritage sites. However, the number of international tourists visiting Vietnam has been declining in contrast to its two neighbors. Last year Laos received 3.5 million visitors and Cambodia, 4.5 million. The problem with Vietnamese tourism can only be attributed to poor management. At a recent National … [Read more...]

Vietnam travel firms upbeat about planned tours to Spratly Islands


An visitor rejoices after catching a large fish during his trip to Truong Sa Islands. Photo: Mai Thanh Hai Travel operators in Ho Chi Minh City are excited about the planned introduction of tours to Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands in the East Sea, also known as the South China Sea. On Tuesday the city government ordered its tourism and transport departments and travel companies to carry out a feasibility study for the purpose. They have been told to wrap it up quickly so that the first tour can begin on June 22. Truong Sa Islands in the central province of Khanh Hoa are not accessible to tourists now. The archipelago usually gets visitors between April and June every year, but only for official purposes. Some travel executives told Thanh Nien that they are ready and very excited to implement the plan. Ly Viet Cuong, general director of Nam Phuong Tour, said the plan is very feasible since many people are eager to set foot on Truong Sa at least once in their life. He said the city … [Read more...]

HCM City’s enterprises eye Myanmar market

Workers make high heels at a factory of Tich Hanh Footwear Co., Ltd in Binh Tan District in HCM City. The city is implementing several trade promotional activities to tap into Myanmar market. — Photo

HA NOI (Biz Hub) — HCM City is implementing several trade promotional activities in Myanmar to help its enterprises effectively tap into potential markets, the Vietnam Economic Times reported. The Viet Nam-Myanmar Trade, Service and Tourism Exhibition 2015 (HCM City Expo 2015), one of the crucial trade promotional activities, is ongoing in Yangon city and some 80 leading Vietnamese enterprises involved in sectors such as processed food, household utensils, garment, textiles, as well as electronics and interior decorations are participating. Vice Chairperson of HCM City People's Committee Nguyen Thi Hong said the annual expo, which will conclude on Sunday, was an effective bridge that connects Vietnamese enterprises and Myanmar customers and can help enterprises in the two countries seek new business opportunities and partners as well as exchange information. In an effort to explore the Myanmar market, Hong, along with a business delegation, worked closely with several agencies … [Read more...]

Miserable holidays

Phuong Thao In the six-day public holiday, from April 28 to May 3, which combined the Hung Kings’ Death Anniversary on April 28, Reunification Day on April 30 and International Labor Day on May 1, vacationers swarmed into tourist attractions across Vietnam. Almost all hotels in popular sites such as Dalat of Lam Dong Province, Cat Ba Island off Haiphong City, and Quang Ninh Province’s Halong Bay, Co To Water Park and Bai Chay Tourist Wharf, were fully occupied between April 28 and May 3, with prices skyrocketing up to three-fold compared to normal rates. Meanwhile, in the central province of Quang Binh, the Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, welcomed a record 35,000 visitors in the four days of the holiday. Ba Ria-Vung Tau, HCMC, and Phu Quoc Island off mainland Kien Giang saw large numbers of tourists as well. The long holiday should have been a gold opportunity to develop domestic tourism but unfortunately, it exposed shortcomings of the … [Read more...]

Vietnamese firms urged to focus on Myanmar market

Telecom, wood processing, food, tourism, and construction were some of the sectors Vietnamese firms should focus on. — VNS Photo Danh Lam HCM CITY (Biz Hub) — Vietnamese firms should study the Myanmar market and act quickly to take advantage of trade and investment opportunities there, the Investment and Trade Promotion Centre of HCM City has said. Ho Xuan Lam, the centre's deputy director, said with its population of 60 million, Myanmar was a large market for consumer products since its demand far outstripped production. Myanmar mostly imported consumer products, mainly from China and Thailand. In recent years Vietnamese firms had expanded exports to Myanmar, but they still accounted for a very small market share due to high transportation costs. Besides, Vietnamese goods faced fierce competition from Thai and Chinese goods. Vietnamese firms should focus on long-term investment rather than quick profits. Nguyen Van My, chairman of Lua Viet Tours Co., Ltd, said with … [Read more...]

Travel firms upbeat about holiday tours

The water park at Vinpearl Land on Phu Quoc Island. According to travel fi rms, Phu Quoc has attracted more bookings as Vinpearl Resort and its entertainment complex Vinpearl Land have just been up and running on the island - PHOTO: KIEU GIANG

Ngoc Trai Preliminary statistics of travel companies in the city showed bookings of domestic and overseas tours during the New Year holiday are at least 10% higher than the same period last year. Tran Thi Bao Thu, marketing and communications director of Fiditour Joint Stock Company, told the Daily that bookings of the company’s New Year tour programs have gone up 25-28% year-on-year. The best-selling tours take in coastal areas such as Phu Quoc and Nha Trang and northern destinations Hanoi and Sapa, as well as Singapore and Thailand. A number of tour operators have stopped receiving new bookings of Sapa tours on certain days. Thu said Fiditour has sold out HCMC-Sapa tours which cost nearly VND7 million per person. Huynh Thanh Viet, retail director of Lua Viet Tours, said more guests have chosen Phu Quoc Island off mainland Kien Giang and destinations in central Vietnam to spend their vacations. The number of buyers of Phu Quoc trips arranged by the company has surged … [Read more...]

Heritage at stake

Phuong Thao The idea floated last week by authorities of the central Quang Binh Province to build a cable car system connecting caves, probably including the world’s biggest Son Doong, has sent heritage conservationists and the like-minded into an uproar. Amid public and expert concerns about the possible impact of a cable car system on the jaw-dropping cave, local authorities explain that they have consulted Swiss experts, who point out that many World Heritage Sites across the globe now have cable car systems. A VND4.5-trillion project to develop a cable car system in Son Doong is claimed to be the most environmentally friendly and do little harm to the site. Moreover, according to the province, an increase in tourist arrivals would create more jobs for locals, thus improving the quality of life of local communities. … [Read more...]

Vietnam travel firm probed over abuse of dominance


The Vietnamese competition watchdog has opened an investigation into a local travel arranger that has allegedly abused its predominant market position in several resort localities, it was announced Wednesday. The probe into Anh Duong Co Ltd was launched following initial investigation results from a lawsuit filed in late April by ABTours, another travel agency, according to a fiat signed Tuesday by Bach Van Mung, head of the Vietnam Competition Authority. … [Read more...]

Chinese tourists resume visits to Vietnam despite tensions


Chinese tourists resume visits to Viet Nam despite tensions Viet Nam ensures the security and safety of foreign tourists visiting the country, Deputy Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ho Anh Tuan said yesterday. At his working session with the northern province of Quang Ninh, the deputy minister said that Chinese tourists have, in recent days, resumed tours to Viet Nam, mainly through the border gates in the northern provinces of Lang Son, Lao Cai and Quang Ninh. According to Vice Chairwoman of the provincial People's Committee, Vu Thi Thu Thuy, Chinese tourists travelled through the Mong Cai international border gate on tours to the province and other localities organised by Chinese travel companies. … [Read more...]

Vacation choices entice students

HCM CITY (VNS) — Travel companies in HCM City have launched several special tours at affordable prices to meet the summer demand. Lua Viet Tours, one of the city's leading tour operators, is offering a dozen domestic tours and several others to Singapore, Malaysia, and Cambodia. At VND5-7 million, tours to the Tay Nguyen (Central Highlands) region and Phu Quoc and Con Dao are the most popular, especially among children in secondary school looking for new adventures with family and friends. Young people also like tours to famous destinations in the north like Dien Bien Phu, Sa Pa, and Ha Long though they are more expensive, costing at least VND9 million. … [Read more...]

Tourists beef about Vietnam ancient town’s entry ticket, authorities justify it

Over the past week tourists said they were surprised and disappointed with not only the aggressive guards but also the charge itself given that many people just wanted to walk, shop, or eat in the town. PHOTO: NGUYEN TU

A top local official has defended the entry fee imposed on visitors to Hoi An, saying it is needed to raise funds for preservation, but promised to soon improve the way it is collected following protests from tourists. Nguyen Su, the town party committee chief, told Thanh Nien Wednesday he would meet with other authorities to discuss measures to deal with the complaints, and promised to brief the media by weekend on the outcome. He admitted that the unfriendly attitude of some security guards who harassed visitors on the streets needs to be corrected. It is understandable that tourists who have bought the ticket and are staying in Hoi An are annoyed when asked for it each time they return to town, he said. "We told the guards Tuesday to let individual tourists go if they say they have bought the ticket." In the past week tourists have complained of being harassed or even chased down the streets by guards for the fee. Vo Phung, director of the Hoi An Culture and Sports … [Read more...]

Ho Chi Minh City’s Famtrip delegation visits Phu Yen


(TITC) - Organized by Lua Viet Tours in collaboration with Phu Yen Tourism Promotion Information Center, the Famtrip delegation surveyed tourism products in Phu Yen from 14th to 16th March 2014. In attendance were tour operators, journalists, photographers in Ho Chi Minh City. In addition to surveying restaurant, hotel services and related services, the delegation has also visited such key tourist routes, destinations of the province as Ghenh Da Dia (Rapids of Stone Plates), Mang Lang Church, An Hai food court, Ngoc Lang vegetable village, Nhan Tower, Bai Mon - Mui Dien, No-number ship vestige in Vung Ro port… According to Mr. Nguyen Van My - Chairman of Lua Viet Tours, Phu Yen has enormous sea tourism potential and services can meet demand of tourists. Through this survey, tour operators have better understanding about Phu Yen tourism to enrich their travel itineraries and journalists can contribute to promoting Phu Yen tourism with their tourist articles and photos thanks … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s Sa Pa to lose its natural beauty for a tramway


Tycoon wants to cover Sa Pa's mountains in more concrete and metal in the form of a massive resort-entertainment-golf complex that includes a tram to the top of Fansipan Local ethnic minority guides and tourists climbing the Fansipan Peak on foot. Experts are concerned that Fansipan, Indochina's highest mountain, and the resort town of Sa Pa, will lose much of their natural beauty to an aerial tramway and several other recreational facilities that will be built in the next two years. Photo by Ngoc Thang The Sun Group has broken ground for the construction of an aerial tramway connecting Sa Pa and Fansipan - the tallest peak in Indochina - prompting fears that one of Vietnam's most beautiful natural landscapes will no longer be so natural. Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai and former Party chief Le Kha Phieu attended the ceremony and issued a "groundbreaking order" for building the tramway, expected to be the "longest, highest and most complicated" aerial tramway in the … [Read more...]

Vietnam hub slammed for failing to protect tourists


Occasional police crackdowns have no positive effects; muggings, scams continue A street vendor offers a stamp album to a foreign tourist outside the Notre Dame Catheral in Ho Chi Minh City. City authorities have launched a crackdown on criminals targeting tourists in an action slammed by experts as failing to solve the problems thoroughly. Photo by Diep Duc Minh Ann Mari Johns was careful to bring only her phone card and a hotel business card in her bag when she walked out of Ho Chi Minh City's Mövenpick Hotel on July 25. Once the Australian tourist was a few blocks from the hotel, two men on a motorbike snatched her bag and sped away. Luckily, traffic police officer Tu Quang Tan was on duty nearby, saw the incident, and gave chase. RELATED CONTENT Vietnam Deputy PM slams Hanoi management of taxisDa Nang launches services to combat crime against touristsDeputy PM orders HCMC to get serious in mafia-protected taxis Like us on Facebook and scroll down to share your … [Read more...]

Vietnam’s hotspot hotels going for the gold online


Hotels in Vietnam are raking in the dough by favoring individual bookings made on foreign travel websites that charge exorbitant rates, which is gouging local travel agencies seeking to secure reservations for larger tour groups Foreign tourists stroll down a street in Ho Chi Minh City. Many hotels and resorts in Vietnam are prioritizing individual bookings made online over tour groups which go through local travel agencies to maximize profits. PHOTO: DIEP DUC MINH Several Ho Chi Minh City tourism companies were recently unable to make reservations for a group of 50 tourists on Phu Quoc Island because they wanted to stay in the same hotel. But it was not because the hotels did not have enough available rooms. Minh Thanh, manager of a tourism company in HCMC said no resort on Phu Quoc agreed to book rooms for all 50 tourists. "It's tourism high season and they want to save the rooms for individual tourists," she added. Many hotels and resorts in Vietnam are prioritizing … [Read more...]